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Strangers’ Things

  • September 26, 2020

Many others just dabble in the work. “I had a number of students who disclosed to me that they were performing sex online, primarily webcamming, and the significant majority of them were doing it primarily part time,” said Ms. Jones, the author of “Camming: Money, Power, and Pleasure in the Sex Work Industry.” One of them, she recalled, said they had made $10,000 in one month on a webcam site. “I immediately stopped and said, ‘Well, clearly I have the wrong job,’” Ms. Jones said.

Robert, a student at Parsons who wanted to be identified only by his first name, was propositioned on Grommr, a fetish website for men that encourages weight gain, to eat $150 worth of food on a live webcam for $100. Would he do it again? “I’d want way more money,” he said.

Since she started 2012, Ms. Lain estimates she has brought 20 friends into the industry. Most of them, she said, work on a part-time basis. “They saw my lifestyle and income and wanted in,” she said. “I think that as a generation we are a little more comfortable exposing ourselves.”

While the seemingly wild sums of money can be appealing, Ms. Joness research of nearly 500 online sex workers indicates that those making the megabucks — think $50,000 a month — are working full time. “Moving in and out of the industry can be problematic and not as lucrative,” she said. The median monthly earnings for an online sex worker, Ms. Jones found, was about a $1,000 a month, with cisgender women averaging $1,250, trans women $1,000, and cisgender men $350.

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